This photo was taken yesterday around 7:30pm from the wharf behind our boathouse on Bayou Lafourche in Valentine, South Louisiana. I was only taking a picture of Sentry and did not realize all that I had captured until I looked at the photo. It was quiet and peaceful last evening; the water was calm, and a gentle breeze was blowing. Sentry is fascinated by the microscopic bugs that skim across the glassy smooth water. Our dog enjoys the lazy evenings spent swaying on the swing mounted underneath the overhang on the wharf as much as my husband and I do (even though she has accidentally toppled off the wharf into the water! Notice the bright red harness she now sports! The better to haul her up next time…and there will be a next time!)
Happy Easter! For Catholics, it’s been a week of activities; Palm Sunday, Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Vigil Saturday night. I saw this picture of a German Shepherd on Facebook and just had to share. If you follow me, you know how much I love my German Shepherds!
Since hubby wasn’t scheduled to play music at church Friday morning for the Way of the Cross, he decided to do a Way of the Cross at the local nursing home. These folks have had their faith to shore them up throughout their lives and most of them attended daily mass before they were confined to the nursing home. When you think about it, you realize that it must be difficult to all of a sudden not to be able to go to mass or any Holy Days of obligation. Some of the priests in the area aren’t really interested in whether or not the days are celebrated for the residents. Our priest wasn’t happy with us because we not only decided to do this, but to invite several groups from our church.
Sometimes, they get too involved with the number of butts warming the pews than with the actual person whose butt is warming the pew. That starts a whole other rant I could get started on, but I’ll save it for later. Getting back to the nursing home, the residents were thrilled and the volunteers who attended enjoyed a blessed event. We had Father J, whose vocation is truly being a priest (he just loves the Lord and being a priest) do the Veneration of the Cross and a Communion service. Hubby said if it was successful, then we’d start a new tradition. Well – it was successful so I guess that’s where we’ll be next year.
Word of our endeavor got around and at church Friday afternoon, quite a number of folks said they would be at the home next year.
The Easter Vigil was quite long last night. Along with all of the extra parts of the mass that go along with Easter, three people were baptized and six made their confirmation. Easter Vigil began at 8pm and we walked out of church around 11pm.
We were up early again this morning. On Sunday’s mornings, we say the Rosary at the nursing home. They were so excited to see us again and couldn’t say enough about how much they enjoyed Friday’s Way of the Cross. It does your heart good to know that you are bringing joy to another person.
Speaking of my dogs, they are back to chasing the chickens! The chickens are actually confined to an enclosed chicken coop, but those chickens are worse than teenage girls! Hubby had to give a chicken away a couple of months ago because it was being picked on. Now, another one has been singled out and it drives Calypso wild. Dogs have a scavenger mindset and the last time the chickens drew blood, she chased around and around the outside of the chicken coop. Now, the same thing is happening. Hubby is kind of scratching his head. At this rate, we won’t have any chickens left in a few months. He said they are mean chickens, Rhode Island Reds I believe. Both Calypso and Ryka have been hanging out in the back next to the coop.
The azaleas were pretty this year. Last year only half of the azaleas across the front porch bloomed. I was curious to see what they would do this year. I took the pictures from the porch because of the rain.
And there’s my little monkey. She loves when I sit out on the porch. She doesn’t care to be inside of the screen, but is content to sit in the yard.
One of our priests made these designs from palms. I had never seen anything like this before. He is so talented. After looking at Father’s designs, he mentioned the one the Pope used for Good Friday. His was a work of art.
I added quite a number of stickers to my Etsy shop ( https://www.etsy.com/shop/TheSouthernPlanner?ref=hdr_shop_menu ) last week. I am an organizer and a planner so these are right up my alley. If you are interested in using a planner to organize your days, stay tuned. I’ll be writing a few organizing posts. I have been a planner since childhood. There are so many planners on the market now which makes choosing a new one each year exciting.
I spent some time working on my book today. A melancholy mood will do that to you.
If you missed my post on displaying your emergency information for first responders, you can find that post here – https://mylifeonestoryatatime.com/2016/03/24/iphone-have-you-locked-out-your-emergency-contact/
I wish everyone a joyful day. Don’t fuss your kids because they had chocolate for breakfast and wiped their hands on the sofa. Don’t fuss because they are running screaming through the house. Don’t worry over the spilled gravy. There are some of us who would love to be a part of our children and grandchildren’s lives. The chocolate and gravy will wash away, the screams will silence and if the stains do not come out, then they will become a cherished memory of Easter 2016 when they snuck chocolate for breakfast, or stuck their finger in the gravy boat, a memory I would gladly give anything for.
Today is my birthday! Yes! Hard to believe it’s been 58 years since I was born. And what a wonderful surprise to find out that author Margaret Locke is featuring her interview with me on her blog today!
I invite you to pop over to her blog (follow the link below) and check out the interview and her books!
I will posting an update on what’s been happening in my life in a little while. If you would like a preview of what’s to come, here it is! After loads of online shopping and actual trips to Kansas (2,000 miles round trip) and then this past weekend to Chicago (another 2,000 miles) we purchased a houseboat! I am beyond excited! Not only to be getting the boat, but the fact I will no longer be looking cross-eyed due to searching online for the perfect boat. That means the post I did about finding the perfect fixer-upper in Kansas is null and void! We decided to look for something ready to go.
The second big event is that one of my beloved dogs decided to eat rat poison for a snack. Fortunately, Hubby found the container in the yard and we rushed both of my shepherds to the vet. Both are being treated as a precaution.
Yes, loads of stuff has been happening in my world so I hope you’ll be back!
You may have noticed that I post a load of pictures on Facebook and Instagram of my two West German Shepherds, Ryka and Calypso. I adore my four-legged companions and all my friends know this. They love tagging me when they find posts about shepherds. This story was shared by a friend this morning and it touched my heart so deeply that I wanted to share it here.
It happened as the Martin family pulled into a strip mall outside Atlanta. The dad went into a store to buy a new dog collar for Noah. Out of nowhere, a road rage incident erupted in the parking lot. Gunfire hit the SUV.
Diondra Martin told INSIDE EDITION, “Glass was flying over my head, over their head.”
A bullet hole pierced the seat just inches from where Diondra’s son was sitting.
“When I took them out of the car and realized where the bullets were, I was like, ‘Oh my gosh. They were that close!’ ” exclaimed Diondra.
A 911 caller said, “Somebody got shot. I heard around 8 gunshots outside in the parking lot.”
Then, a remarkable thing happened. In the hail of bullets the dog raced to the front seat.
Diondra explained, “His body was pushing me to stay this way.”
Diondra believes Noah was coming to sheild her and that’s when a bullet hit him in the neck.
“The bullet was coming towards me and it hit him in the neck,” she said.
That’s right! Noah took a bullet for the family.
“It was so heart breaking. I saw the hurt in his eyes,” she recalled.
You won’t believe what happened next.
The gravely injured Noah took after the gunman, as seen on surveillance video.
Dad, Kadon Martin said, “I see my wife over there screaming, and she was bloodied up.”
Kadon ran after his wounded dog and showed us how he found Noah lying on the sidewalk. Kadon explained, “I grabbed his head and I opened his mouth and tried to blow in his mouth.”
But it was too late. Noah died from the gunshot wound.
The loss is too much to bear, and Kadon tearfully stopped and had to leave the room.
Diondra said, “It’s very hard on him. He’s never cried like that before.”
But the story doesn’t end there.
Dog breeder Elizabeth Wilkerson heard the story of brave Noah on the news. She drove 750 miles from her home in Michigan to deliver a very special present to the Martins.
Wilkerson told INSIDE EDITION, “The whole situation just broke my heart.”
Meet their new dog, Kris! We were there for the big moment!
The children were overwhelmed with joy. But none more than dad, who broke down in tears, telling Wilkerson, “Thank you so much. Thank you so much.”
A happy ending to a tragic tale.
But the family will always have a special place in the hearts for Noah, who took a bullet for them.
“He saved the kids. He saved my lfie,” said Diondra.
I was bound and determined today to sit down and just write. It’s something I’ve been feeling the need to do and not having the time to do. It’s Lent for anyone who is Catholic and a time of reflection; at least that seems to be the theme of the homilies at church these days.
I don’t know if I just didn’t understand exactly what reflection was, or just wasn’t in a place to reflect. That statement will no doubt resonate with only those who have been in a state of flux as I have been. So much in my life is unsettled and will remain that way indefinitely. I think that is what makes reflection difficult for me. To reflect means thinking back on some of the most painful parts of my life, and while it may be helpful to work my way through those parts, it is truly not possible. There are missing parts and people who are needed to work through those parts. It is not only my healing that is needed.
I have been reflecting on what a mess parts of my life have been. I do not think that as children, we think about growing up and looking back on our lives trying to figure out what was truth and what was not. Sadly, this past year has been one of many revelations; most of them not good.
I’ll probably be writing more on reflection later, but for now, on to the “lighter” side of life.
If you follow my blog, you know that I have two beautiful West German Shepherds. They are my two loves! Calypso seems to have her own “Lucy” moments, like her mistress!
Hubby wanted to have chickens and so he built a chicken coop. All I did was warn him, the chickens had better be secure as Calypso (and Ryka) were here first.
We weren’t going to start with the chickens so soon, but a friend of Hubby’s wanted to get rid of a few of his so it jumped started the process. He quickly built a coop of his own design and instead of the six he was hoping to house, he ended up with nine chickens. Well, there’s a saying that goes something to this effect – “You get what you speak into your life…” Well, he’s been saying that he might have to give three away if they start fighting because he really only wanted six and built the coop for six.
…and then there were eight. Hubby built the pen on skids so he could pull (see the chain?) it around the yard with the tractor so the chickens would have fresh grass. He pulled and parked it one night, not noticing that it sat on uneven ground. That was all that chicken needed! It bypassed the barbed wire along the bottom and out and about it went. Didn’t take long for Calypso to spot it – I wasn’t there but I know my dog VERY well. It looked like a chicken feather plucking contest in the back yard. The chicken was confiscated from Ryka and Calypso in the front yard. It wasn’t in good shape from what I heard.
Calypso has been spending an in ornate amount of time in the kennel as of late. It seems as though all I need to do is walk out of the back door, and they head to the kennel. The chickens have gotten used to Calypso running around and around and around the coop. Even after three weeks, she still finds them fascinating. She loves the excitement of making them fly. Ryka sometimes joins in, but for the most part is content to sit and watch between naps.
…and then there were seven. Hubby really should have known better on this one. He didn’t put the dogs in the kennel before going to the coop. He opened the door and a chicken saw a dog and a dog saw a chicken stepping out, and that was all it took. Calypso made a move and the second chicken was confiscated in the front yard. This one was still in good condition as Hubby chased Calypso and grabbed it. However, it was dead. Hubby cleaned this one and put it to cook.
I learned a few fascinating things with this chicken – one, there was a soft egg that the chicken would have laid the next day. Call me silly, but I didn’t grow up on a farm and never gave an egg much thought other than the fact it came in a carton at the market. Two, old chickens taste and smell horrible. While Hubby was chowing down on chicken stew, I had to shove my bowl away. I am extremely taste and texture sensitive. It was awful!
There are still seven chickens to date and I informed Hubby that if he would like for it to stay that way, he had better begin speaking it into his life, as in “I always wanted seven chickens!”
I learned an interesting trick this week. I saw this on Facebook. What would we do if not for Facebook. It is such a wealth of information! (laughing) I boiled a dozen eggs the other night and tried this technique out. After the eggs were boiled and slightly cooled, I put them one at a time into a mason jar. I filled the jar with tap water to about the height of the egg, capped it, and then shook it viciously. The egg pealed itself! I kid you not! I was so excited and making such a commotion that Hubby ran to see what I was doing. After that, it was a fight to see who was going to peel eggs. Why I didn’t just give him his own jar is beyond me.
And, being the Lucy that I am, what would a week be if I didn’t cut or burn myself at least once! I have no clue how I did this, especially since I was being careful, but I managed to make a connection with a knife right at the knuckle. Hubby did a great job of bandaging it in a way so that it stayed immobile to it could heal. The cut probably needed stitches, but I’d rather suffer. It has finally healed but looks like I have an extra ripple. Oh well. Doesn’t look any worse than the arthritis on my fingers.
I have friends who home school and this semester Hubby is teaching a farming course to them. They are gardening in our back yard. It should be quite interesting for the kids. They planted seeds and are documenting their growth through germination, planting and harvest.
Calypso and Ryka each get a “cookie” in the morning. The difference in personalities is so great and really comes through in the little moments. This is each of them waiting for me to hand them their cookie.
Ryka, ever the patient one, and Calypso in her “I want it and I want it NOW” way. She is the wild child. She lives life to the fullest. I guess I should be glad she’s a dog and not a kid.
I love taking pictures and while I was out walking a couple of days back, I took some shots of what I refer to as “Around my yard” on Instagram. You can follow @SouthernCharmPlanner if you are interested. There is a sunny shot of a beautiful Red Maple tree in my front yard and then a shot from a different angle on a cold and cloudy day. I love the contrast of the bare Crepe Myrtles and the Red Maple in the background along with the gray sky.
I also took a few shots of my front porch, along with some of the bird nests in the trees in our yard.
Other than a favorite of mine, Homemade Hot Chocolate, that’s about it for now. Hope to see you again next week! Please feel free to comment about your week.
Here are few more of the chicken and pet pictures. Enjoy!
My dad passed away Tuesday evening at the age of 84. He had been struggling for a while, suffering from Alzheimer’s, Dementia, and Parkinson’s. The one person who should have been holding the family together, was more instrumental in tearing it apart so that now we are a family divided.
The last time I visited with my dad was this summer. He didn’t seem to know who I was. He still looked well and I felt good about my visit with him. That was the last time I saw him. I know that as time marched on, his condition deteriorated and I chose not to visit. While some may view this as a cop-out, I look at it as self-preservation. The family drama also made visits difficult.
I lost a sister fifty years ago to Leukemia. I was 5 and Debbie was 7. I remember some things as though it happened yesterday. It was an event in my life that changed me forever. I do not deal very well with losing people. I know that it’s part of life; just not one that I deal with very well.
I’ve been through a lot of loss in my life, beginning when I was very young. The last, and most devastating loss was during my divorce from my children’s father. That was 18 years ago. Although they are blissfully unaware of what transpired (the therapist said I protected them too much) and how things have progressed to where they are now, it was through manipulation called Parental Alienation Syndrome. That’s the problem with PAS. Children do not normally realize what happened until sometimes many years in to adulthood and they get angry any time it is mentioned. Sometimes much too late to reconcile with the alienated parent.
This is a loss I wake up with every day of my life. While we bury some of our loved ones, grieve, and somehow manage to move on with life, this is different. It is a loss of a loved one every day and you continue to grieve, but not move on.
My Dad wasn’t perfect. None of us are. But, he was a good dad. He was a State Trooper for many years and because the pay was extremely low, he sometimes worked three jobs to support his family. If I had a “situation” he was there to fight my battles, to defend me. He sewed my broken bra straps. He dried my tears. When I needed a bug collection for science class, he helped me catch the bugs and then he carefully preserved them and mounted them inside of a glass case that he built for me.
He built two wooden shadow boxes and hinged them together. It had a handle and a latch and looked like a wooden briefcase. Inside each side he mounted styrofoam board with my bugs and installed glass over each side. It was the best in the school. While others mounted their bugs on poster board, my dad helped me mount them in first class. I was teased unmercifully, but like Dolly Parton’sCoat of Many Colors, that bug case was made with more love and attention that most kids get in a lifetime.
There was a Christmas when I received a little keyboard and I learned to play the Blue Danube. He was so proud. Anyone who came to the house had to listen to me play! I remember my dad singing all of us to sleep with Red River Valley. I also remember him keeping a little jar of lemon drops on the dresser and we were forbidden to enter my parents bedroom. We’d go to bed and listen to make sure they were in the kitchen and one of us would sneak into the room and take a couple of lemon drops. He never said anything about the missing lemon drops, although I’m sure he knew we took them.
He passed on his love of German Shepherds to me. He accepted me as the person I am. I am proud to have had him as my dad.
When my dad began feeling the effects of his illness, he mention two things that he wanted to do. One was visit the State Police Academy and the second was to visit his hometown of Olla, Louisiana. My husband (also a retired trooper) made arrangements to take him on a tour of the academy and he had the opportunity to sit in the Colonel‘s chair. He enjoyed his day tremendously and I was so blessed to have this time with him. The second in command presented him with two State Police medallions and when we returned home, I printed a photo of the old academy and of him in the Colonel’s chair and framed it along with the medallions. He loved to look at it everyday and tell the story. I regret that his health soon declined and we never had the chance to take him to Olla.
My dad had retired from the State Police by the time my second daughter was born, but when my first-born was little, he loved driving up to my house and putting the lights on for her. She would stand in the window and clap her hands. She adored her grandpa and he her. She was the first grandchild and the darling of his eye. He often picked her up and took her home with him.
While I miss my dad terribly, I know he is in a better place. A place where he can no longer hear the drama and manipulation around him. A place where he can now hold the child he lost so many years ago. That brings peace to my heart and I feel more happiness than sorrow. I’ve had him all these years and now my sister will have her turn in eternity. That makes me happy.
Those thoughts will carry me through his wake and funeral. I’ll grieve but it will be bittersweet. Goodbye for now my wonderful Dad. You were here for me when I needed you and I will miss you. Enjoy your life in eternity.
As the days are slowing creeping by, more memories have been floating around and I wanted to add them to this post, mostly for myself, but I also thought you might enjoy them as well.
When I posted on Facebook – what did we do before Facebook – to let my friends know that my dad had passed away, they began sharing memories of their own, which in turn, brought back memories for me.
There were times when I was stopped by policemen and didn’t understand why. I was always told I was going too fast, when I was pretty sure I had not been. Years later, I found out the reason. My dad, who was a State Trooper at the time would occasionally come across other law enforcement officer’s children who were speeding. He had a habit of following the kids home or driving them home, if need be, and standing there while they admitted to their parents that they had been driving way too fast, or were inebriated. Turns out, it wasn’t always appreciated by the parents. Also turned out, I was an easy target. I drove to school my senior year and like most places with one highway, it was easy to spot your target. While it bothered me at the time, I’m pretty proud that my dad tried to take the better road by trying to help these fellow classmates out rather than plopping them in jail. I can only imagine the retaliation I would have received if that had happened.
My high school boyfriend said there were many scary moments with my dad (I think I may remember more than my fair share – blushing here) but the one he really remembers is when he hit a parked car as he was driving past my house – about 15 miles away from where his father thought he was.
Another school mate admitted that my dad had stopped him for speeding and he must have been singing my praises (he was a friend) because being my friend got him out of a ticket.
I guess those were the good old days with such simple stories. My little group of friends and I were the goody two-shoes as the saying goes. Our idea of trouble was stopping in a curve on the “back road” and running into the graveyard to touch a grave. Of course, it was Deadman’s Curve where the groom was racing to see why his bride had been delayed and they crashed head-on. Doesn’t everyone have a story like this?
My dad’s CB handle was the Toy Maker. He carried his wooden toys that he made in a box in his police unit. When I was expecting my first daughter, he built a cradle for her. It is a work of art. He later made replicas for both of my daughter’s for their dolls. I have a toy train that runs around my Christmas tree each year.
I’m not calling this post finished because I know there are lots of memories that I will remember. Hope you enjoyed some of them.